A controversy has been brewing over the “chiringuito” street bars that were properly authorised for the Maspalomas International Carnival. Last week 25 unauthorised street bars set up in a car park at the Yumbo (why do they call them “chiringays”?), were officially closed down by the Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, but at the last minute managed to get a judge to lift the ban with a temporary judicial order.

Now the 13 legitimate businesses who followed the law, supported the town hall and bid for the tenders for municipally awarded chiringuitos, have declared that they plan to denounce the public administrations at the town council for allowing “illegal competition”.


The Town Hall put out to tender four lots totalling 13 kiosks, 5 food-trucks and 3 bars for the Maspalomas International Carnival on Avenida de España. This year they were not able to use the private spaces located on private land (between the highly rated Rías Bajas seafood restaurant and the Mini Golf, and on the other side next to the Insular Tourism Information Centre), as has happened in previous years.

So, a private company went ahead and rented around 25 chiringuito beach bars, placing them in both car parks, which were not included in the Carnival Safety and Security Plan, and thereby, despite being outside of the health and safety provisions, have been able to organise a de facto “parallel carnival”, according to the town council’s urban planning department, which, along with the Policia Local, ordered them closed last Thursday.

However, a court order, last Friday, was issued accepting a “very provisional precautionary measure” and these kiosks were able to re-open and carry out their activities throughout the weekend and into this week.  They don’t have entertainment licenses, and they were not approved under local ordinance, and yet they have been able to continue serving carnival goers sucking all the profits out of this large community event that has suffered 2 and a half years of postponements and pandemic restrictions.

With a huge loss of expected business, and as the main carnival weekend approaches, it is with quite justified anger that the people who paid for the “municipal” chiringuitos consider that this is simply “illegal competition”. Now their anger has turn to the Town Council alleging that allowing this sort of sharp practice amounts to a “false tender”. The complain that some have even had to just close, during the weekend, due to a total lack of customers.

The authorised beach bars are now demanding, as part of their complaint, that the amounts they paid in the bids for the authorised chiringuitos be returned to them, amounts ranging between €10,000 and €20,000 each.

Editor’s comment:

While there are those who will just shrug and suggested that this sort of corruption of a public event is normal, rolling their eyes because they think “everyone is corrupt”, there is also a grown tide of discontented business owners, who follow the law and try to work within the rules, who work hard to do things correctly, who are crying out for some representation in their own community, and in their own town hall. How long will this sort of thing be allowed to continue before somebody stands up and says enough is enough?

This is of course a ridiculous situation. 

It is not the town hall that have allowed these illegal bars to operate without authorisation or a safety plan, the council’s urban department ordered them closed last week, but a judge in one of the local administrative courts, issued an urgent temporary order to allow them to reopen, based on some perceived harm or loss of business for the private company who organised those bars outside of the rules and without permissions to do so.

In the end this will surely be a case where the town hall has acted correctly, but been ignored by a commercial enterprise who does not think the law applies to them.

The people who have correctly bid for tender and paid for the authorised bars have got every right to be upset. As have all the Yumbo business owners who might feel they have not been consulted at all and that they will get little benefit from this massive event in the middle of their public town square.

Why are these illegal bars called Chiringays anyway? Perhaps its tradition?  Is it a pride thing? No, probably not…

These unauthorised bars represent real harm not only to established well run businesses, who follow the law, but also now threaten the authority of the town hall, as well as potentially risking the revenues used to fund Carnival in the first place!

The unlicensed street bars should be shut down and charges against them filed. Doesn’t anyone object to use of the word “Chiringay”?  We are told its tradition, perhaps connected to Carnival’s long association with Drag Queens.  Regardless, who do they think they are?

Who will stand up for legitimate business owners in Maspalomas?

Chiringay cowboys simply taking the piss out a whole community, and everyone else who tries to do things the right way.  Is there no one round here willing to simply do the right thing? Time will, no doubt, tell the story…

Timon .:.